Mead Lover’s Digest #116 Fri 16 April 1993

Forum for Discussion of Mead Brewing and Consuming
John Dilley, Digest Coordinator

blackberries/raspberries (acp!mark)
Re: Mead Yeasts (Steve Dempsey)

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Date: Thu, 15 Apr  14:27:58 1993 
From: chp!acp!
Subject: blackberries/raspberries

regarding Dennis B. Lewis’s disapointing raspberry mead. I have mad
a raspberry mead with frozen raspberries put in the secondary and it
was a great success. I think we have one bottle left. (2+yrs).

We also use the Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast. It’s the easiest for
us to get our hands on. It does give a much drier acidic taste to mead than
anything commercial i’ve ever tried. Mind you I’ve not tried to make sack
mead, which seems to be the most common commercial product.

If you’re going to use raspberries again then I think you can expect a
very acidic end product. a local brew-pub makes a pale rasberry-wheat
beer in the summer and it’s murder on your stomach if you drink too much.
I don’t know if blackberries are as acidic. Seems to me that they won’t be.

I’d also like to see some blackberry recipes.


Date: Thu, 15 Apr 93 14:32:47 MST 
From: Steve Dempsey <>
Subject: Re: Mead Yeasts

In digest #115 Dennis B. Lewis <> writes:

> I’m still very novice at this, but from my beer brewing
> experience, the yeast will make or break your product. As such, I
> have the following questions:
> Are there mead yeasts out there? (I’m sure)
> What company cultures them?
> Where can I get some?
> What are their flavor characteristics? (Avoiding strong
> sherry-like;-))

Vierka produces a yeast designated for making mead. It’s one of my
favorites for a sweeter mead, but it’s difficult to work with (low
viability). Among the new liquid cultures distributed by GW Kent is
another purported mead yeast, which I have not tried yet.

I have tried most of the popular wine yeasts marketed for hobbyist
use. I would consistently use the following for the different
types of mead:

traditional, dry Red Star or Wyeast Prise de Mousse
traditional, medium Red Star Montrachet
traditional, sweet Vierka mead
melomel, sweet/medium Red Star flor sherry, Montrachet
melomel, dry Red Star or Wyeast champagne, Lalvin EC-1118

The prise de mousse seems to go dry without the acidity or astringency
of the champagne yeast. The sherry yeast imparts its own flavor but the
`sherry’ flavors associated with sherry wine comes from oxidation late in
the fermentation, or post-fermentation, which should not be part of your
meadmaking process. Montrachet seems to be a fairly neutral general
purpose yeast, but takes much longer to dry out than the champagne or
prise de mousse (in my experience). All these are available from various
mail order sources, and your local shop should have at least a couple
of them.

I’ve been disappointed by ale yeasts, which don’t tolerate the alcohol.
They work ok if you like the old style fresh mead of low gravity, which
is consumed practically out of the fermenter. Also, yeasts which have
high phenol production like the german wheat beer yeasts don’t work well
with mead [I have 3 gallons of sparkling Listerine/medicine flavored mead
if anyone wants to try some].

I think most wine yeasts are rather neutral as far as producing weird
flavors, as long as they are not abused. All of my undrinkable meads
except the failed wheat beer yeast experiment have had flaws resulting
from other factors. These include using the wrong honey (eucalyptus);
mold, wild yeast, or bacterial infections; poor nutrients including
aeration; or improper acid balance. Unless the recipe and process are
sound, the yeast usually cannot be blamed for ruining the product.

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End of Mead Lover’s Digest